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By the numbers: Demand for Baltimore-area housing continues to cool off

Demand for Baltimore-area homes continued to trend downward last month, extending the cooling off of the regional housing market after more than a year of dizzying activity.

The decline may offer some respite for buyers who have been ensnared in what’s known as a seller’s market since the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, which lit up the real estate economy due to record-low interest rates, an influx of federal stimulus money for many individuals and families, a surge in remote working and upended seasonal buying patterns.

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High demand and limited supply brought big payoffs for sellers, who often sold their homes in just a few days and sometimes out of bidding wars. At the same time, production and development met delays and the cost of materials like lumber and other home-improvement items soared.

Now, some seasonal predictability may be returning, with buying scaling back during the winter and demand easing, according to data provided by MarketStats by ShowingTime based on listing activity from Bright MLS, the region’s multiple listing service.

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The organization tracks activity using a tool called the T3 Home Demand Index, which scored November demand at 98 (”steady”), down from 119 (”moderate”) a month earlier. The ranking stood at 105 in November 2020.

Here are additional insights extracted from November’s Bright MLS housing market update:

Median sales prices

Homes sold at a median sales price of $330,000 in November, down slightly from October but still up from this time last year. Median means half the homes sold for more than $330,000 and half sold for less.

According to Bright MLS, the median price is the highest ever recorded for the month of November, when buying usually slows. And consumers still are paying more than the list price, with the average sales-to-list price ratio at 100.8%.

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Of the jurisdictions in the Baltimore metro area, home prices in Baltimore City rose the fastest, at nearly 8% since November 2020. Baltimore County followed at 7.3%.

Several jurisdictions had higher median homes prices than $330,000, including Anne Arundel ($410,600), Carroll ($395,000) and Howard ($475,000) counties.

Closed sales

Homes sales usually fall from October to November but mostly held steady this year, a sign that the pandemic-induced frenzy has not completely ended.

Sales are up 2.6% from last November and more than 35% since November 2019. In all, there were 3,933 sales last month.

Baltimore County had the most sales, with 1,037, followed by Anne Arundel County, which had 929, and Baltimore City, with 922.

Home sales were strongest among townhomes and condos, according to MLS, which usually sell for cheaper than detached homes. Sales of single-family homes were down 7% from last year.

Median days on the market

For the first time in months, the median number of days homes spent on the market returned to the double digits.

Properties took a median of 10 days to sell in November, up from 9 days last month and up from 8 days a year earlier. Still, that number is incredibly low relative to November 2019, when homes sold in a median of 30 days.

Most counties had medians under 10, including Anne Arundel (nine), Baltimore (nine), Carroll (seven), Howard (seven) and Harford (seven). City homes sold in a median of 18 days.

Inventory

After rising to a little more than a month’s supply in October, housing inventory fell in November to less than a month’s supply. If current buying patterns continued, the amount of available housing would be gone in about 27 days.

Housing experts say a healthy volume of supply would amount to five to six months of inventory, an amount not seen in November since 2014.

The number of new listings fell over 23% in November compared with the month before, which reflects the winter slowdown in activity, according to MLS. It’s down about 5% from a year ago, but a little over 1% higher from November 2019.

This article may be updated.

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